Sunday, January 27, 2013

Home Sweet Home

This is "home" for me. At least for NHL games. From the back row of Section 124 at Prudential Center.

That was the overwhelming feeling, at least for me, at the home opener on Tuesday night.

The drive to Roselle Park to the train station. The walk from Penn Station through the Gateway Center out to Prudential Center, all lit up for an Opening Night sellout. Riding the escalator up from the first tower into the arena concourse. The same lady greeting you by selling programs and high-fiving everyone as they walked by. Riding the escalator up to the second level. Turning right then left and coming around the curve to my seats. And this view.

Nothing had changed. It was good to be back to watching hockey.

And the people. I think all of the season ticket holders who sat around me came back this year, almost all to the same seats. Even as too many months went by, it felt as if nothing had changed, even though so much had.

We had this hanging (on the other side of the balcony from where I sit). I have no view of it from my seat, but it was one of the first things I had to go see when I got up stairs. One night, I'll bring my real camera and take all kinds of pictures of the new banners and all of the banners on that end.

The concessions change each year. I now have to say "I sit in front of the Rita's stand" instead of the Carvel stand. The players change a bit each year. The Devils have a new captain this season and some new coaches. But for Opening Night, after a long layoff, none of that mattered. It was good to be home.

The post-script to that story is shutout number 120 for the franchise goaltender. It's a shame I had to miss the end in order to catch my train home. Hopefully leaving early like that won't happen too often this season.

Now we're 3-0-0, with the fourth game of the shortened season just a few hours away. There are certainly things they need to work on. They still pass too much, especially on the power play. Friday night against Washington was a prime example of that. There's a new coach for the power play and offense and there's supposed to be a new system in place where they get shots on the net rather than passing to get good looks. That didn't happen. The defense in front of the net in the 2 games I saw in person looked really good. Certainly helped with the shutout on Tuesday against the Flyers. They're changing up the offensive lines every day. That's still the "training camp" mentality. There is also a bit of a void to fill up there. I'd like to think every team is dealing with similar issues. But we're undefeated.

Two other observations from the league from the first week of the new season: A lot of fighting (not that there's anything wrong with that), and a lot of penalty shots. No idea why. Someone will have to look into it.

Leave a comment or drop me a line at DyHrdMET [at] gmail [dot] com. Your comments will fall into a moderation queue.